Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced on Monday the resignation of his government after the huge explosion that devastated Beirut.
The August 4 detonation at a port warehouse of what authorities said was more than 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, killed at least 163 people and injured more than 6,000.
The Lebanese army said on Monday that search and rescue operations continued after another five bodies were pulled from the rubble raising the death toll to 163.
“Weeks after the formation of our government, some political parties tried to hold us accountable for corruption, public debt, and economic collapse,” Diab said.
“We are keen about this country, its future and the future of our children. We do not have personal interests. We want the good for this country, but we refuse to be dragged to useless arguments. Unfortunately, we could not stop some political parties from inciting people against us,” he said.
The prime minister accused political parties of being too corrupted to be able to make changes and reforms in the country.
“I have discovered that corruption is bigger than the government,” Diab said, adding that corruption exists in every department of the government.
Investigations into the explosions are still ongoing. Three senior officials at Port of Beirut and 16 port employees were arrested on Friday over investigations into the disaster.
Diab was appointed in December 2019 after nationwide protests led to the resignation of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government.
Speaking during a televised address to the nation at the governmental palace in Beirut Diab said: “Today we have reached this earthquake which hit the country with all of its repercussions on the humanitarian, social, economic and national levels. Our first priority is to deal with these repercussions in parallel to investigations that would outline responsibilities without neglecting this disaster with time. Today, we want to satisfy people’s demand by holding officials responsible for this disaster that has been hidden for seven years. We stand by the people with their willingness to implement real change by fighting against corruption, money squandering, theft crimes, to go to a fair and transparent state and a country that respects its people. With this reality put in place, we take a step behind to stand beside the people for us to wage the battle of change by their side. I want us to open the door facing national recovery with the participation of the Lebanese. This is why I announce today the resignation of this government. God protect Lebanon.”
(Source: Reuters London)